What I Learned About Money Playing The Sims As A Child
- I played The Sims as a kid, and it taught me twisted lessons about money.
- I used the “rosebud” cheat code to make my Sims rich without working, and kept looking for the same cheat code in real life.
- Now that I am older, I realize that building wealth is not the same as the instant gratification of getting into the “rosebud” cheat.
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After a long day at school and an hour of torture sitting in Manila traffic on the way home, all I wanted to do as a little kid was turn my computer back on and get back to the gripping game of The Sims. ‘yesterday evening.
For those of you who have never built a house in the virtual world of SimCity, let me explain. The Sims is a life simulation computer game where you can create your own characters (aka Sims), build their homes, and manage their finances.
I probably spent two or three hours each night on the game, creating queer families with two, three, sometimes four parents at home. Since I went to Catholic school and grew up in a religious family, The Sims was a safe space to explore my identity.
Also, The Sims was one of the first places I learned what money was – what it would be like to spend and splurge on whatever I wanted, and how much
could affect the lives of my Sims.
In the original Sims game, families had to pay their bills every three days, and not paying bills on time will cause your Sim’s mood to drop. In later versions, a repo-man would come and collect items from Sims’ homes if they didn’t pay their bills on time.
This fun game seemed innocent enough, but it taught me so many twisted lessons about money.
I idealized the idea of cheating my way to wealth
In addition to basic financial management, I learned the “rosebud” cheat code. Coupled with extra exclamation points and semicolons, the “rosebud” cheat code could put millions of simoleons (Sim dollars) in my Sims’ bank accounts. Sometimes the code would crash my poor old computer, or it would take forever to load.
But I’ll never forget the serotonin boost of seeing all that money in my account and letting my crazy Sims go wild with this newfound free time.
Subconsciously, I thought there was probably a way to do this in real life – some kind of cheat code that would let me never work again. Of course, as I got older, I learned that the “cheat code” to wealth is often stealing, cheating, or exploiting resources that will help you get rich overnight.
I spent my adulthood chasing the “rosebud” cheat code to riches
In my early twenties, I attended an elite art school where people could afford six-figure tuition and unpaid internships. I watched my fellow unpaid interns eat $25 lunches every day and return to their Mom and Dad-funded Manhattan apartments while I ate a $5 plate from the halal cart and crashed at my aunt in Queens.
I thought their families had figured out the “rosebud” cheat code for wealth, and I was desperate to figure out how to do the same. Instead of actually taking care of my financial health, I ended up making bad financial decisions to catch up with my wealthy friends.
Of course, I got to go to oyster happy hour with them, sip expensive champagne, and “network” with important people in the industry. But unlike everyone else, I was charging my share of the bill to a credit card with high interest rates while they paid cash without blinking at their account balance.
There is no cheat code for wealth
Now that I’m in my thirties, I know wealth isn’t just about seeing an astronomical number in your bank account. Wealth is not instant gratification, but a feeling of having enough to take care of me for the long term, created by everyday habits and money awareness.
I learned that there are many ways to generate passive income or grow your money exponentially by investing in stocks or cryptocurrencies, which can be a bit like the “rosebud” cheat. . But even these sources of passive income require knowledge, diligence, and patience.
Unlike the Sims’ subconscious messages, there’s no wealth cheat code that will magically clear all my debt, take me out of my daily chores, or solve all my money problems. All I can do is take small, consistent steps towards financial freedom every day.